Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses (Hardcover)

The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

By Bess Lovejoy

Simon & Schuster, 9781451654981, 329pp.

Publication Date: March 12, 2013



A writer and researcher behind the bestselling Schott's Almanac brings us a delightfully macabre collection of morbid curiosities: tales of what happened to famous people after they died.


But for some of the most influential figures in history, death marked the start of a new adventure.

The famous deceased have been stolen, burned, sold, pickled, frozen, stuffed, impersonated, and even filed away in a lawyer's office. Their fingers, teeth, toes, arms, legs, skulls, hearts, lungs, and nether regions have embarked on voyages that crisscross the globe and stretch the imagination.

Counterfeiters tried to steal Lincoln's corpse. Einstein's brain went on a cross-country road trip. And after Lord Horatio Nelson perished at Trafalgar, his sailors submerged him in brandy--which they drank.

From Mozart to Hitler, Rest in Pieces connects the lives of the famous dead to the hilarious and horrifying adventures of their corpses, and traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward death.

Praise For Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

“A tasty, sharp, wonderfully unusual book. I enjoyed it like a jar of perfect dill pickles: when the mood strikes, nothing else will satisfy.”

-Mary Roach

“If really, we’re all sitting in the undertaker’s waiting-room, then Rest in Pieces is the perfect easy read, preparation for the moment when the nurse steps out of the shadows and quietly calls your name.”

-Simon Winchester

“The world is awash with legendary body parts, from Einstein’s brain to Napoleon’s most intimate organ, and this wildly entertaining account proves that the fate of the grisly relics tells us a huge amount about history—and ourselves.”

-Tony Perrottet

“Deliciously morbid and delightfully macabre, Rest in Pieces is required reading for those of us who intend, one day, to die.”

-Ben Schott

"[A] historically beguiling, stranger-than-fiction compendium, which unearths the surprising fates of famous corpses, from Beethoven's to Eva Peron's."

“Marvelously macabre. . . . A fascinating foray into the way of all flesh.”